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Preview: Lightning at Canadiens

Tampa Bay tries to keep playoff hopes alive; goalie Carey Price starts for Montreal

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

LIGHTNING (40-30-10) at CANADIENS (46-25-9)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNE, RDS, NHL.TV


Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning must win to remain in contention for the last available berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay won 4-1 at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, but the Lightning are three points behind Toronto for the second wild card from the East with two games remaining. "At this point, all we can do is put a little pressure on," defenseman Anton Stralman told the Tampa Bay Times. "We have to have the same effort [Friday], or [Thursday] is a wasted one." Forwards Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, J.T. Brown and Ryan Callahan and defenseman Jason Garrison, each sidelined by injury, took to the ice for an optional morning skate at Bell Centre along with forward Joel Vermin and goalie Peter Budaj. Stamkos, who said Thursday that he's unlikely to return in the regular season, skated for about 40 minutes and did some light drills with Garrison, Brown, Callahan and Vermin, shooting on Budaj. Johnson skated for about 20 minutes on his own at the opposite end of ice. Stamkos, who was one of the last to leave the ice, did some extra work with assistant coach Brad Lauer shooting one-timers.

 

Canadiens team scope

The Montreal Canadiens will be without injured defensemen Shea Weber, Jordie Benn and Alexei Emelin for their final regular-season home game. Weber and Emelin also will not play at the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Canadiens coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate in Brossard, Quebec, that Benn might be ready to return Saturday, and that he and Weber will be ready for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs next week against the New York Rangers. "Both will definitely be ready for the playoffs, no questions asked there; they're all good," Julien said. Emelin was injured in Montreal's 2-1 loss at the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. "He's done for the regular season and then he'll be re-evaluated on Tuesday to see where he is just before the playoffs," Julien said. Goalie Carey Price will start against Tampa Bay but will not play at Detroit. "That will give him a good four days of rest without playing a game," Julien said.

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Adam Erne -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn -- Yanni Gourde -- Cory Conacher

Greg McKegg -- Gabriel Dumont -- Michael Bournival

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Luke Witkowski -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: Joel Vermin

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee), Tyler Johnson (lower body), Jason Garrison (lower body), Cedric Paquette (lower body), J.T. Brown (undisclosed), Ryan Callahan (hip)

 

Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

Paul Byron -- Tomas Plekanec -- Brendan Gallagher

Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Shaw -- Artturi Lehkonen

Dwight King -- Michael McCarron -- Andreas Martinsen

Andrei Markov -- Nikita Nesterov

Brandon Davidson -- Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu -- Brett Lernout

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Steve Ott, Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, Charlie Lindgren

Injured: Shea Weber (lower body), Alexei Emelin (undisclosed)

 

Status report

Lernout was recalled from St. John's of the AHL on an emergency basis Thursday. He sustained a season-ending knee injury in his NHL debut with the Canadiens last season. "I'm just thankful to be here right now and show everybody what I've got," Lernout said.

 

Who's hot

Palat has 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in his past 10 games. Kucherov has 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in his past 14 games, and 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) in his past 21 games. Drouin has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. ... Danault has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past five games. Lehkonen has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past eight games. Pacioretty has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past six games. Price is 12-3-0 in his past 15 starts, with 23 goals allowed and one shutout.

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